Smoke alarms a burning issue

FIRE WISE: Mt Wellington senior firefighter Campbell Cairns gets a lesson about smoke alarms by fellow firefighter Phil Cross, dressed as Bright Spark.
FIRE WISE: Mt Wellington senior firefighter Campbell Cairns gets a lesson about smoke alarms by fellow firefighter Phil Cross, dressed as Bright Spark.

The end of daylight saving this weekend is the perfect time to check your smoke alarms.

Change Your Clock, Check Your Smoke Alarm is a campaign run by the New Zealand Fire Service to encourage people to check and replace smoke alarm batteries when putting their clocks back an hour.

Mt Wellington senior firefighter Campbell Cairns says smoke alarms act as an early warning device to give people crucial minutes to get out of a burning house.

"Fires start quietly and grow quickly. When you’re asleep you can’t smell smoke and can’t detect a fire. Without a detection device, a fire could start anywhere in your home without you knowing."

He says a smoke alarm sounding could be the first warning there is a fire and could be the difference between life and death.

"So while smoke alarms can’t put out the fire, they can save lives. However, a smoke alarm can only warn you of fire if the battery is working."

Some batteries need replacing every year.

Mr Cairns says people should get into a habit of checking and changing alarms on a set day, such as daylight savings.

"If you still don’t have a smoke alarm, make this the day to install some in your home – in every sleeping area, living area, hall and on every level of your home," he says.

Alarms can be cleaned by vacuuming them gently.

As part of the promotion the Fire Service will check smoke alarms, install batteries and provide fire safety advice to householders.

This is a service provided all year round but the emphasis now is on smoke alarm maintenance.

The Change Your Clock, Check Your Smoke Alarm campaign is part of the Fire Service’s public education programme, aimed at reducing the number of preventable fire deaths.

East And Bays Courier